By Carlos Mendez
Photos by Ralph Lauer
When it comes to offense, expectations are high at Carroll.
There’s no need to pretend otherwise.
Still, when quarterback Kaden Anderson calls the 2022 offensive unit he’ll lead for the Dragons “the most powerful offense we’ve seen in a while,” it may raise eyebrows, especially for longtime fans. Then again, when has a Carroll offense not been among the most powerful in the state?
The senior signal-caller makes a good case. “Our O-line is stacked. We’ve got great receivers. Owen Allen is the best running back in the state,” Anderson says.
All are intriguing ingredients, but of course it starts behind center with Anderson. The senior threw for more than 3,000 yards with 34 touchdowns last season and ran for an additional 7 scores on the ground in producing a 14-1 record.
Decisive and accurate, Anderson thrived behind an offensive line that gained valuable experience. Its leader in 2022 is senior Jake Hall, who started every game last year at left guard. Andrew Cunningham and Garrett Brown are among the new or established players who give the coaching staff confidence to implement any game plan.
“We expect a lot out of our O-line this year,” says Dragons coach Riley Dodge.
The unit will be making holes again for Allen, a senior with more than 5,800 total yards and 85 touchdowns on his career ledger.
“The biggest thing with Owen, the biggest compliment I can give him is, he’s always found one or two things that he can work on in the offseason,” Dodge says. “He’s taken our coaching and applied it to offseason and summertime. I’m expecting big things and him taking another step.” James Lehman will also get action out of the backfield, though not necessarily all by handoff.
“He’s going to play quite a bit of wide receiver for us,” Dodge says of the junior rusher. “He’s our backup running back, but he’s too versatile a player for us to call him a backup and have him sitting on the sidelines.”
The Dragons’ annual standout fleet of receivers is led in 2022 by Jacob Jordan, a junior who caught 45 passes a year ago. But plentiful options abound, including a pair of 6-foot-5 tight ends in Harrison Moore and Jack VanDorselaer, who potentially provide a new wrinkle to the traditional Dragons scheme.
“With our two tight ends now, we will be a little bit different offensively schematically,” Dodge says. “Run game-wise, pass game-wise, that stuff will stay the same. The formation might be a little bit different.”
All in all, expect it to equate to another season of yards and touchdowns piled sky-high. Take it from a player who has been there long enough to know.
“I’ve never been more confident in our depth at each position,” says Allen, a varsity player since he was a freshman. “We’ve got guys who know what they’re supposed to do, where they’re supposed to be, who are really buying into the process. On those championship teams, that’s really what you want to see, and I think that’s what we have.”